The South of Cambodia was clearly one of our main highlights during our trip through this beautiful country. Especially Kampot will stay as a extremely positive memory. Although the actual plan was to just stay there for one night, in the end we spent around four days around. We just loved it. And you can see that there are actually many reasons to visit Kampot.
What to find out in this post
- Capital of the province of the same name
- Located at the Teuk Chhou River
- Ca. 30 km away from the Vietnamese border
- Popular sight are the Elephant mountains within the Bokor Nationalpark
What makes Kampot so special?
Besides the Durian statue in Center of the city, I actually have to admit that there is not really a main tourist attraction as it exists for example in Angkor. But the atmosphere and the beautiful surroundings is what makes Kampot so special. For us, it was definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Asia.
Especially after your stay in busy Phnom Penh, you will appreciate the tranquility and peacefulness of Kampot. Even though it is known to be a big city it feels more like a cozy little village and we loved that feeling.
Even Kampot at night fits into the picture. We loved our nightly walks along the riverside (Don’t forget your mosquito repellent!) as well as our hostel.
Where to stay in Kampot
To be honest, we are both not really into these typical Party Hostels that you can find everywhere around Southeast Asia. Anyway, we usually like to use the opportunity to get in touch with fellow travelers. That’s why we prefer when our accommodation offers a Common room, bar or something along those lines. This is one of the reasons why we chose the Monkey Republic Hostel in Kampot. (Check prices and availability here) And we didn’t got disappointed. It offered the perfect mixture. You could have a beer at the bar getting in touch with others and also get some yummi food there. On the other hand you didn’t got disturbed by loud music when you wanted to go to sleep early. During our stay we both had a pretty strong cold and didn’t feel quite well at times. Anyway, we felt like this was the right place to be. So we felt comfortable nevertheless.
Another big point for us was the totally reasonable price. Moreover, the staff is lovely and they will help you plan your day trips. You can also refill your water bottle for a small price, which not only makes your piggy bank happy but also is good for the environment.
Best things to do in Kampot
As I’ve already mentioned before, one of the best things about Kampot is actually its surroundings. There is quite something to see. Unfortunately, we couldn’t use all of our time the way we would have liked to as we got a pretty strong cold. (Sitting 9 hours in a bus directly under the aircon doesn’t come without consequences I guess. And our wet adventure in Bokor Nationalpark didn’t help either)
Anyway, in the following I collected for you a couple of things you might enjoy when staying in beautiful Kampot.
The Bokor Nationalpark is located around 20 km away from Kampot. Without any doubt, the way there is totally worth it, though. You can find the details about this mesmerizing park and its Elephant mountains here.
The pepper plantations of Kampot
Besides the Durian fruit Kampot is nationally known for its pepper. It’s said to be the best of the whole country. If this fact makes you interested in seeing the pepper growing with your own eyes you might wanna rent a motor bike in order to get from A to B.
The roads of Kampot are of really good quality if you compare it to the rest of the country.
Although the way there still might take you one to several hours it might be worth considering. After hour rainy Bokor adventure we actually didn’t really feel like taking the motor bike anytime soon again.
Fellow travelers on the other hand told us that they really enjoyed the fields and especially the surrounding nature. Also the pepper might be a nice present for your loved ones at home as people actually can use it. (Other than the average souvenir)
If you don’t feel like going there you still have the chance to try the pepper almost everywhere around Kampot. Often in restaurants they serve you a little bowl of pepper that you can add to whatever you have ordered. And we gotta say, you can actually taste a difference! But why don’t you try yourself when you are around? 😉
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Kep and its Crab market
If you google about Kampot you will recognize that most posts will also mention Kep. Kep is a little fisher town, just around 30 km away from Kampot. Actually, in the beginning we were about to go to Kep. But after passing through by bus we decided otherwise and directly went to Kampot instead. Kep is mostly famous for its Crab market. Anyway, if you are no big seafood fan, like me, (Yes, we do exist!), probably Kep might not become the highlight of your trip.
On the other hand it is interesting to get a little inside in the crab business. But for us it just wasn’t enough to make us stay there for the night.
Apparently, the beach wasn’t a highlight either. Especially if you compare to the other beaches you can find in the South of Cambodia. The beach was full of garbage in many places. And the water also looked kinda muddy, which could also have to do with the strong rain though. Anyway, it didn’t looked really appealing to us in general.
All in all we wouldn’t define Kep as a total must-do. But clearly it’s no waste of time either.
(Firefly) Sunset River Cruise
For 5 Dollar you can join one of many river cruises leaving from the Kampot riverside. The journey usually begins around 5.30 pm and takes about 2 hours. You can chose between many companies but to be honest it all kinda looked the same to me. Included in the price you also get served a cold beer during your little journey. And again, do not forget your mosquito repellent.
During sunset you even have the chance to swim in the refreshing river water. But if you have seen all the garbage floating around during low tight, you might wanna miss that opportunity.
The journey already begins adventurous as you have to make yourself as flat as possible, ideally by laying down, when the boat is passing through under the bridges. After dawn all the bridges will be lighten up to prevent accidents, don’t worry.
The whole experience is really unique. The nature along the riverside in gorgeous and you can meet many fisher boats making their way home after a long day.
If you get lucky you can see an amazing sunset from the river. Well, within the raining season it can be kinda difficult.
About the fireflies though… To start with the positive part, yes there are fireflies. But to tell the truth the “firefly watching” is basically stopping at one tree filled with some fireflies along other boats. So I guess the firefly thing is more of a marketing tool than actually happening. But anyway, we can highly recommend the river cruise tour of Kampot.
Getting in touch
On our way to Kampot, we met this super lovely couple. During our stay, we spent two evenings with them and had a great time. They have been kinda doing the same kind of itinerary as us, just the other way around. So we could share a lot of recommendations.
However, this couple has a super cute story that I just find too awwww to keep it to myself. 🙂
They’ve met for the first time already 30 years ago while he was living in India and she was traveling around there. As life sometimes goes, even though they fell in love, circumstances didn’t allow them to continue their relationship after she had to head back to France. Years went by, but still they never really forgot about each other until she found a voice message of him around seven years ago. Now they are finally back together, married, based in France and traveling the world together. Isn’t that just super romantic?
Anyway, for us also it is super inspiring seeing people in their late 50s backpacking the world, hitchhiking and being away from home for several months. So don’t let something stop you from living your dream, especially not your age.
As you might have realized from this post we just loved Kampot and enjoyed our time there completely. (Well, obviously not the part about being sick, but you know what I mean) We actually even have been a little sad when entering the Van to Sihanoukville. But there as well highlights were waiting for us. I will tell you about that in the next post.